So, you’ve got your sewing machine aboard. Do you have what you need to get your project started and completed? Wonder what to take on board or if you’ve forgotten something? Here’s a list of the items I use most.
Hot knife or soldering tool – Essential for finishing the ends of Sunbrella to prohibit raveling. Don’t forget a safe surface to use it on. See secret trick.
Heavy-duty scissors, fabric shears and small thread cutter – Like knives to a chef, scissors are to the Seamless Sailor.
Measuring tools, “L” and “T” shaped measuring tools – These measures are great for making patterns. Also need a short measure for at the sewing machine and metal yard stick.
Marking pens – light and dark. The washable ones work well as do the soapstone. Get extras.
Heavy” T” pins or a stapler – You can staple Sunbrella to hold it temporarily. Pin cushion.
Double stick tape or basting tape – Can be easier than pins with heavy fabrics. Plus no holes left behind.
Hand sewing needles – For finishing work, various sizes
Seam rippers – Notice I have that as plural. Seam rippers are our friends
Extra machine bobbins – Secret trick: While you are winding bobbins, wind 2-3 at a time. You know you’ll need them usually in the middle of a key part of the project.
Grommets and snaps and setting tools – Adding cool grommets to use for attaching line, tie downs etc.
Various tools – Hammers, punches, awls – This Seamless Sailor’s husband can usually find their missing tools on the sewing tool bag.
Starboard – A good size piece of extra Starboard or a cutting board made of similar material will be useful when setting grommets or snaps
Box or tool bag – Got to contain all this stuff.
Iron – It helps to make a nice fold or hem or to set a seam.
Reference book(s) – Hard copy or Kindle version, you know you’ll have a question or two.
Fabric, thread and machine needles sized for the job at hand. Sailrite has a great chart in the catalog to keep handy.
Notions or items for your specific project – Shock cord and hogs? Zippers? D rings? Snaps? Twist locks? Binding?
If you are doing sail repair, you need additional specific items like a palm, special needles, UV thread, sail insignia material, etc. (This may be a separate post in the future.) You may find sail repair kits that would be worth having aboard.
Where to Buy
You can find many of these items at local fabric stores and some at the hardware store or, of course, Sailrite carries just about anything you’d need as do other online stores. Don’t forget marine consignment shops for bargains.
Finding storage on the boat for the machine and your tools and extra fabric can be a challenge. The machine will need to be secured so it doesn’t become a hazard underway. The extra fabric can we sealed in vacuum bags or extra large zipper bags and stored in a less accessible place until needed. Your tools you may need to access periodically for a quick repair. Make sure you can get to them.
Sailing Chance (http://www.sailingchance.com/blog/so-you-bought-a-sailrite-now-what) – Kelly adds a great list of notions.
Free Radical (http://www.svfreeradical.com/technical_talk_sewing_supplies.htm) – Julie offers a more detailed list of sewing supplies to have on board. She also offers her list and more about notions in Canvas for Cruisers.
What other tools do you use routinely? I’ll update the list as we think of others.